Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
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When a batter and pitch face off, which has a greater effect on how hard the ball is hit, and what can that tell us about pitcher BABIP?
The last decade has seen much discussion and evolution in sabermetric thought around the relative abilities of batters, pitchers, fielders, and Lady Luck to control the outcome of batted balls. Data collected by Sportvision and MLBAM sheds new light on this question, but before we tackle that data, let’s review some of the history of how we came to our current state of knowledge.
Some players are stuck in minor-league limbo, but there are occasions where these players are worth a look.
My love for baseball statistics is rooted in evil. That is, it was profit-driven. I was always one of those students in school that could see something once and commit it to memory, and while I could not always recall how to properly solve for X, I knew that Jose Cruz led the Astros in home runs with 12 during the 1984 season and that Bob Knepper had more shutouts than Nolan Ryan did that season. I was not yet old enough to help my father out to be the designated driver for his groups, but my fountain of useless information was useful to him in winning bets with his friends. He took great pleasure in taking me to games in the company Skybox, which literally felt as if it were in the sky in the Astrodome, and bet his coworkers I would know the answer to any Astros-related statistic they would throw at me. We had a nice racket going on for a while; I would take home half of the profits, which I immediately invested into the latest video game for my Atari 2600.
More memories from a childhood's worth of ballplayers in Utah and Walla Walla.
Today we pick up where I left off last week in covering some of my favorite minor leaguers I saw in Salt Lake City, Utah (where I grew up) and Walla Walla, Washington (where my grandparents lived) during the late '70s and '80s. Some went on to have notable major-league careers, and one even reached Cooperstown. Others would earn less distinction, though they retain my considerable affection.
Taking a trip through the California League, looking at the stadiums, surrounding areas, teams, and hot dog ratings.
California has been home to professional baseball for over 150 years. The move of the Giants and Dodgers from New York actually dramatically diminished the vibrant baseball scene in the state, as it lessened the importance of the Pacific Coast League and the farm system that fed PCL teams. In 1941, the California League was established. The league is in the High-A classification and has 10 teams-the Modesto Nuts, Stockton Ports, and San Jose Giants in Northern California, the Visalia Rawhide and Bakersfield Blaze in the Central Valley, and the Lancaster Jethawks, High Desert (Adelanto) Mavericks, Inland Empire (San Bernardino) 66ers, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and Lake Elsinore Storm in the Los Angeles area.
The league's stadiums range from post-World War II projects such as San Jose Municipal Stadium to state-of-the-art facilities with major-league worthy sky boxes, roving waiters, and enclosed restaurants and bars. Moreover, although statistics are normalized to counteract the effects of different stadiums, the features of different minor-league parks are largely unknown and not quantified. In this edition, three parks--Stockton, Lake Elsinore, and High Desert-are profiled, along with the towns and front office executives that make these clubs unique. Five parks and franchises-San Jose, Inland Empire, Modesto, Rancho Cucamonga, and Visalia-will be featured next week.
Though a large percentage of professional baseball players got where they are by going through the draft, some had to find their own road to the majors.
The three-day event that is baseball’s First Year Player Draft wound to its conclusion Wednesday, and now the 1,525 young players chosen face choices. For high school seniors, should they play professionally or go to college? For most college players, stay in school or go pro?
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
Back in 2003, just after Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi had cut over 20 million from Toronto's payroll and was still managing to moneyball his way to an 86 win season, some members of the Toronto press foolishly accused him of racism. The accusations, which concerned the racial make-up of the team, were so crudely conceived and without basis in reality that they are not worth going into here, but, ironically, Riccardi was so concerned with finding undervalued players at the time that he'd have surely gone after a certain race if those players were devalued simply because of their skin color. In other words, he'd have loved nothing better than to pick up all the best Negro League players in 1940.
A new publicly-available storehouse of info allows for endless explorations into the game's history beyond the big leagues.
While I'm hardly an authority on the topic, I've always had a soft spot for minor league baseball, probably because my formative years were spent in minor league towns. I grew up attending ballgames in Salt Lake City, Utah, a city with a rich history as a minor league outpost dating back to the old Pacific Coast League and its 200-game seasons. During my childhood and adolescence it played host to the Triple-A affiliates for the Angels and Mariners in the modern-day PCL, and I got my fill of stars like Dickie Thon and Phil Bradley, high-altitude boppers like Ike Hampton, and future flops like Al Chambers. Additionally, every summer I would visit my grandparents in in Walla Walla, Washington, the site of the Padres' Low-A Northwest League affiliate, where I watched Tony Gwynn and John Kruk take their first steps toward major league stardom.
Better than a 7-Eleven, the Twins' outfield runneth over, Kastens sings "Come On Over to My House Baby," plus news and views from around the game.
Every season without fail, there are names on Opening Day rosters that only the most avid of baseball fans would recognize, guys who have never been in the major leagues, who aren't considered prospects, and who have maybe had a lineout in BP's annual. Some, like Chris Jakubauskas, may have even taken an off-season job as a sales clerk.
The head of Seattle's new Department of Statistical Research elaborates on the ins and outs and evolution of baseball analysis.
A new era of Mariners baseball began when Seattle hired Jack Zduriencik as their general manager following the 2008 season, an era that will include an increased emphasis on statistical analysis. Helping to lead that charge will be Tony Blengino, who previously served as Milwaukee's assistant director of amateur scouting under Zduriencik, and now holds the title of special assistant to the general manager, baseball operations. A chief financial officer and author of the book Future Stars, before joining organized baseball in 2003, Blengino will head Seattle's newly created Department of Statistical Research. Blengino talked about his new role, and how the Mariners hope to build a championship-caliber team through a perfect marriage between traditional scouting and statistical analysis.